For those of you who don’t read Better in Bulk regularly, I feel like I always need to start all car reviews with a disclosure: I am not a car person. I don’t understand most specs, and I am not concerned with features unless they make my life easier. When I look at a car, I want to know a few key things: is it easy and pleasant to drive, does it get good gas mileage, and how does it fit my family?
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I have to tell you about Kia Soul. I arranged the review of this car so that I would be able to have a vehicle to get me to and from Type-A Parent Conference in Charlotte. I was able to drive it for a few days around home, and then because of a certain trip to Los Angeles that came up, I had to drop it off at Tara’s house from Feels Like Home so that she could transport the car to Charlotte and meet me there.
Because of the strange week that I had while the Soul was at my house, I had two very unique experiences driving it.
The Kia Soul as an around-the-town car:
The Soul was so much fun to drive around while I headed to the grocery store and a few local events. I felt hip driving it around, with the sunroof, the bright “Molten” red exterior paint and the houndstooth interior seats. What I noticed while driving the Soul on my normal errands was that it was smooth on even the bumpiest roads, and that it was very easy to handle.
The cargo space in back was plenty sufficient for a large shopping trip to Trader Joe’s, and there were seat belts and plenty of seating for 5. Obviously for my family that meant we couldn’t all be in the car at once, but we’re rarely all driving together, anyway.
The kids and I enjoyed the lighted speakers, which changed with the “mood” or the beat of the music. As fun as they were, though, we all wished that there had been mood lights in the back for the kids to enjoy a little more, as well as in the front.
I loved that I did a lot of non-freeway driving and didn’t have to fill up the gas tank for a while.
The Kia Soul as a road-trip vehicle:
On the road trip to and from Type-A Conference, the Kia Soul honestly surprised me. I was worried about the cargo space, which had been plenty roomy for a grocery trip, being able to handle four adults and all of the luggage. When we met at the entrance to the hotel in Charlotte before we headed back to Virgina/Pennsylvania/Maryland, I was proactive. I took advantage of the incredibly handy cargo organizer. I was able to pack a full bag’s worth of swag, papers, and dirty laundry underneath the floor. Because of that storage, we fit everything we needed to haul back home into the car without a problem.
Four adults fit very comfortably in the Soul, with or without luggage in the back. While I was sitting in the back seat, I appreciated ample leg room.
One thing that we all noticed while we were driving such long distances that day was the fact that the gas tank was very small – only 12.7 gallon capacity. However, despite the smaller-than-we-were-used-to gas tank, we only had to fill up twice during our drive back home. It may have a small gas tank, but the gas stretches quite far.
And, as usual, regardless of what we were driving, road trips before and after conferences are incredible knowledge-sharing venues. We chatted for HOURS about our blogs, our kids, and everything in between.
2012 Kia Soul! specs:
While this is certainly not a comprehensive list of all the the Soul’s features and specifications, here are a few that stood out to me on the Soul! model that I drove. Or maybe they just sound important…
- 4-cylinder, aluminum block & head
- 164 hp @ 6,500 rpm
- Front engine, front-wheel drive
- Fuel tank capacity: 12.7 gallons
- Estimated city/highway MPG: 26/34
- UVO in-vehicle infotainment w/HD Radio™ technology, rear-camera display
- Driver’s 6-way adjustable seat
- Dual-level glove box
- Power sunroof w/tilt
- USB/auxiliary input jacks
- 12V power outlet
- Luggage under-floor tray
- Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH)
- Rear child-safety door locks
Who would you recommend for the Kia Soul!
The Soul felt to me more like a young single person’s car versus a family car, though it would certainly fit a normal-sized family and their stuff. Because of it’s attractive, low starting price, the Soul would also be highly affordable and appealing to the younger driver. I think it would make a great commuting car or a second car for a family.
Have you driven a Soul or seen them driving around town? What did you think?
Disclosure: I was loaned a Kia Soul! to test and review, thanks to Kia. No other compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
© 2012, Lolli. All rights reserved.